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Advice for fixing a leaking exhaust flue

Discussion in 'Plumbing and Central Heating' started by Auric, 4 Dec 2020.

  1. Auric

    Auric

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    Hello all!

    During lockdown in April we moved into a new house and on day 1 found a gas leak which required a new boiler system. Our options were limited due to full lockdown so we got in touch with the closest boiler installation guy we could find, willing to work during the lockdown.

    Long story short, they did a decent enough job but there were a few leaky pipes (both copper leading into boiler and waste leading out of boiler). As a pretty competent DIYer I fixed these myself - I initially told the plumber about the leaks (he came and fixed one, I fixed subsequent leaks) and he said it's normal when switching from tank system to combi boiler - not sure how true this is.

    Anyway, flash forward to today and I discovered water dripping out the bottom of the actual boiler. Probably not a great sign, right? I've located the leak to the exhaust flue at the top of the boiler - pictures attached. I initially tried to prevent water leaking by wrapping the joints in plumbers tape but this hasn't worked.

    I don't really want to have anyone in the house unnecessarily (COVID) and this plumber is obviously a bit of a cowboy, so I'd prefer to not have him fix it. In normal times I would be tempted to just pay a good plumber to come in, check everything over and fix any bodge jobs, but we're not in normal times. So is this something I can fix myself? If so, what do I do?

    Any help, advice etc is very much appreciated!

    Cheers
    Auric

    Edit: Boiler is Vaillant eco TEC plus 938

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    Last edited: 4 Dec 2020
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  3. Iamchamps

    Iamchamps

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    Call back a competent gas safe engineer you can’t DIY that. You are risking you are your families lives.
     
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  4. Chris_W

    Chris_W

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    And ASAP as well, as it could get worse and rust more, resulting in another boiler.
     
  5. Gasguru

    Gasguru

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    That installation's a total bodge...even the boilers storage cylinder safety valve has not been plumbed in.
    I would be contacting Gas-Safe and requesting an inspection...they can force the installer to rectify all defects at no charge to you.
    Have you got the building control notice and was the boiler registered?
    A leaking flue can rapidly destroy the boiler from the inside out from corrosion, and a safety valve not plumbed in is not only unsafe but will also cause serious water damage.
    I hope that cables heat resistant...poorly installed too.
     
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  6. Auric

    Auric

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    Wow, okay - so more serious than I assumed.

    I'm not sure what the building control notice is - is this something the installer would have done?

    I'll contact Gas-Safe first. Thanks for the advice!
     
  7. ianmcd

    ianmcd

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    That is a terrible install, contact Gas safe and get an inspection, why should you have to pay to get it installed correctly, and stop trying to repair it your self , turn it off, your families safety is more important than comfort
     
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  8. Gasguru

    Gasguru

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    Once a boiler's been installed the installer should fill out all the paperwork, register it with the manufacturer for the warranty and inform the local building control team at your council.
    This is normally done via the Gas-Safe website. A small fee is paid and the property/boiler details entered. Within a few weeks or so of install the homeowner should get the notice from the council.
    This is in order to comply with building regulations..certain home improvements are notifiable to the council. This notice is also requested by solicitors when a property is sold.
    See if the benchmark logbook has been filled in (back of the install manual), check with Vaillant whether it's been registered. AFAIR Gas-Safe will tell you whether it's been notified to them.
     
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  9. Auric

    Auric

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    I've looked through my docs and I have a letter from Vaillant confirming registration and I have a building regulations compliance certificate too. I just spoke to Gas-Safe and they said I can raise a concern and that they will try to get an inspector out within 20 days and then if needed force the original engineer to fix the problems. I told them I'll get in touch with the original engineer and get him round, but I will also raise a concern with them and inspect the work once completed. Does that sound appropriate?

    Thanks again!
     
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  11. ianmcd

    ianmcd

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    If the origional installer was indeed Gas safe registered and they dont sort your problem within the stated guidelines , then gas safe will appoint someone to do it properly at no expense to you and they will take it upwith the installer, sadly if the installer wasnt registered you are not covered
     
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  12. Gasguru

    Gasguru

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    Your difficulty is knowing whether the work the original installer does will improve the situation...the evidence so far is that he's useless and doesn't care.
    If he doesn't cut and install the flue properly this can lead to leaks but you won't know if he does it properly unless you see him do it.
    You need to be there literally reading the manual and checking his work. Some people are just hopeless and should be thrown out the trade.
    You also need to know whether condensate has leaked from the flue into the boiler combustion chamber and the extent of any corrosion.
    I would suggest you get him to sign something to the effect that the boiler/flue will be installed exactly as required by the manual/regulations
    and that you will have it inspected by Gas-Safe afterwards.
     
  13. Auric

    Auric

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    Update: He is coming over to fix it today. He is saying that it is due to rain water in the flue, but I've pointed out that it hasn't rained today and now he thinks its condensation. He hasn't mentioned anything about the other issues raised by you all.
     
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  14. lostinthelight

    lostinthelight

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    I can fathom why people think a cowboy will suddenly morph into a tradesman the second time around.
     
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  15. Auric

    Auric

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    I understand but I don't have many options. I'm going to have to get him to check it first and then get Gas-Safe to inspect it afterwards. I wish I could have done it all right from the start but because of COVID we had zero choice.
     
  16. DP

    DP

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    condensation is within the inner tube that is made of plastic. It will not corrode.
    Get him to carry out flue gas analysis on the two test points on the turret. One should show 20.8% O2, other readings as per the spec in the boiler book.
    It appears flue gases are crossing over to inlet side or inner tube seals are displaced, missing or tube not engaged in the socket.
     
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  17. Gasguru

    Gasguru

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    Builders band securing the bottom of the boiler is certainly not Vaillant approved :rolleyes:
     
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